Saudi Prince slams CIA assessment report on Khashoggi murder

the CIA concluded the crown prince ordered the journalist’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, contradicting Riyadh’s version that he wasn’t involved. (AFP pic)

DUBAI: A former head of Saudi intelligence cast doubt over the credibility of any CIA report that incriminates Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Several news organizations including the Washington Post and New York Times have reported that the CIA concluded the crown prince ordered the journalist’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, contradicting Riyadh’s version that he wasn’t involved. CIA officials have high confidence in their conclusion, which is based on multiple sources of intelligence, the Post reported Nov. 16.

“The CIA has been proved wrong before,” Prince Turki Al-Faisal, a longtime Saudi intelligence chief, said in an interview in Abu Dhabi Saturday. “Just to mention the invasion of Iraq for example.”

Assertions made before the 2003 invasion of Iraq by ex-US Secretary of State Colin Powell, with former CIA head George Tenet “sitting right behind him,” that the country’s manufacturing of chemical weapons was “a slam-dunk conclusion” proved to be “absolutely false,” he said.

President Donald Trump has disputed that US intelligence officials have definitively concluded that Saudi’s crown prince ordered the murder of US-based columnist Khashoggi, while continuing to tout the importance of maintaining economic ties with the kingdom.

“The CIA is not necessarily the best measure of creditable intelligence reporting or intelligence assessment,” Al Faisal said.